United States District Court, S.D. New York
MICHAEL T. HOLMES, Plaintiff,
YMCA OF YONKERS, INC., and JOHN/JANE DOES A THROUGH D, Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
VINCENT L. BRICCETTI UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Michael T. Holmes brings this action against defendants YMCA
of Yonkers, Inc. (“YMCA”), and John and Jane
Does, alleging age discrimination in violation of the Age
Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”), and
gender discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”). Plaintiff also
brings corresponding state law claims for age and gender
discrimination under the New York State Human Rights Law
pending is YMCA's motion to dismiss the complaint
pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). (Doc. #8).
following reasons, the motion is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED
Court has subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
purpose of ruling on the motion to dismiss, the Court accepts
as true all well-pleaded factual allegations in the
complaint, and draws all reasonable inferences in
plaintiff's favor, as summarized below.
a 63-year-old African-American man, served as the president
and chief executive officer (CEO) for YMCA beginning on
November 21, 2016.
to the complaint, during that time he “served Defendant
with distinction” and “made significant
achievements during his short tenure.” (Doc. # 1
(“Compl.”) ¶¶ 18-19). Nonetheless,
YMCA's Board of Directors stopped responding to plaintiff
after their May 2017 board meeting and began to “back
channel communications with current and former staff.”
(Id. ¶ 19). Then, on September 21, 2017,
without any written warning, notification, or
performance-related discipline, or “any justification
or reasonable or unreasonable basis, ” plaintiff was
terminated. (Id. ¶ 20). Plaintiff alleges in
doing so YMCA failed to follow standard practices or its own
personnel policy or bylaws, and as of the filing of the
complaint plaintiff had not received any explanation or
documentation regarding his termination.
alleges he was replaced by his immediate predecessor, a
person he describes as a “far younger and less
experienced female, ” and that he had
“considerably greater experience in senior level
positions with for profit and nonprofit business
entities.” (Compl. ¶ 23). Thus, plaintiff asserts
YMCA's only potential bases for terminating him were his
age, gender, or both.
filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission (the “EEOC”) on May 1,
2018. The EEOC issued a “right-to-sue” letter on
October 24, 2018. Plaintiff then filed a complaint with the
New York State Division of Human Rights (the
“NYSDHR”) on November 20, 2018.
Standard of Review
deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the Court evaluates the
sufficiency of the operative complaint under the
“two-pronged approach” articulated by the Supreme
Court in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679
(2009). First, a plaintiff's legal conclusions
and “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause
of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, ”
are not entitled to the assumption of truth and are thus not
sufficient to withstand a motion to dismiss. Id. at
678; Hayden v. Paterson, 594 F.3d 150, 161 (2d Cir.
2010). Second, “[w]hen there are well-pleaded factual
allegations, a court should assume their veracity and then
determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement
to relief.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the allegations in the
complaint must meet a standard of “plausibility.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 564 (2007). A claim is
facially plausible “when the plaintiff pleads factual
content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
“The plausibility standard is not akin to a
‘probability requirement,' but it ...